Most Exciting New Gear from Shimano for 2021

Published on 05/17/2023 · 3 min readFishing expert Kevin Frost deep dives into the Shimano reel that is the biggest game-changer of 2021.
Kevin Frost, Fishing Expert
By Fishing Expert Kevin Frost

Photo by Kevin Frost

As a Fishing expert here on Curated, I always try to get my hands on gear before it's released to explore the tech and check out any changes. I was excited to head to ICAST, the world’s largest sportfishing tradeshow to investigate the industry's newest product releases.

Shimano Booth at ICAST 2021. Photo by Kevin Frost

Walking into ICAST, Shimano was, quite literally, front and center; it was the first booth you walked past as soon as you entered the showroom. Shimano has been a premium fishing gear manufacturer for years, and, in my opinion, have the most exciting product being brought out to the U.S. market for the first time.

Shimano Curado BFS: The biggest game-changer reel at ICAST

When it comes to inshore fishing, I am a firm believer that “elephants eat peanuts.” What I mean by that is small baits catch big fish. Too often, I see anglers throwing the biggest, most erratic baits they can find, thinking that's how you catch big fish. I can tell you firsthand that some of the biggest redfish and trout I've caught have been on small profile baits like Ned rigs or very small paddle tails (I use the Z-Man Finesse TRD, TRD TicklerZ, and Slim SwimZ) on a 1/10 oz. jig. Most would say that a spinning setup is required for finesse presentations such as these, and that is exactly why the Curado BFS is the most exciting product revealed at ICAST this year.

Redfish caught near Crystal River, FL, using a TRD TicklerZ. Photo courtesy of Kevin Frost.

What is BFS?

BFS is short for Bait Finesse System which is a style of fishing that started in Japan. Due to the amount of fishing pressure in Japan, it became necessary to throw very small and light (under ¼ oz) lures to get a bite. Traditionally this was only accomplished with spinning gear as there was not enough weight to get the spool to spin on a casting reel. However, people wanted the added casting and lure control that can only be achieved through a baitcasting reel.

Over time, anglers began replacing their heavy deep spools with lightweight shallow spools that were cut out to remove extra weight. It has only evolved from there, with upgrades to braking systems, bearings, and reel materials. This began the craze of BFS fishing. Until now, these reels have only been available on the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM), but Shimano has finally brought this new style of fishing here to the U.S.

Curado BFS

The new Curado BFS reel is designed for throwing diminutive jigs while maintaining the accuracy of a baitcaster. The Curado BFS expands the Curado lineup of low-profile reels while redefining finesse fishing for tournament anglers. This is done through an ultralightweight ported shallow spool designed for thinner diameter lines. Normally when using a braided line lighter than 30 lb, the line will cut into itself and cause hang-ups and backlashes on the cast. The shallow spool on the Curado BFS does not allow for layers of line to sit on top of one another, so anglers can use very light line. The spool on the Curado BFS will hold 50 yards of 8 lb braid which is plenty of strength for redfish and trout.

Shimano has also moved the braking system in this reel from the spool to the palming side plate. This new braking system, dubbed Shimano’s Finesse Tuned Brake (FTB) system, reduces spool weight even further. The FTB uses magnetic brakes, but instead of applying constant force throughout the cast, the magnets use the centrifugal force and the magnetic brakes automatically adjust to slow the spool down only when braking is needed.

Close up of the shallow ported spool of the Curado BFS. Photo by Kevin Frost

In my opinion, this is the one true game-changer at ICAST 2021. This allows anglers in the U.S. to fish in a completely novel way. I know this reel will be part of my arsenal as soon as possible! Check out the Expert Journal here on Curated for more Fishing content.

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